Cryptocurrency mining centre shut down

Miri police seizing the cryptocurrency mining servers.

KUCHING: A cryptocurrency mining centre was discovered in a semi-detached house in Jalan Bakam, Miri, thanks to a joint operation between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and the police.

A total of 49 units of cryptocurrency mining servers worth approximately RM245,000 and an internet modem were found at the time of the raid.

According to SEB, its team inspected the site and found evidence of electricity theft, including illegal direct tapping cables from the main wiring connected directly to the cryptocurrency mining machines. Its investigation team also discovered illicit connections hidden in the premises’ ceiling.

“The mining activities in the building are estimated to have cost Sarawak Energy about RM8,200 of stolen electricity a month.

“All cryptocurrency mining machines were seized by the police and illegal direct tapping cables were dismantled as evidence of electricity theft. A police report has also been lodged for further investigation,” it said in a statement on Saturday (Sept 11).

The power utility company mentioned that the owner of the premises will be charged for electricity theft — which is a criminal offence under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance that carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or a sentence of five years in prison if found guilty.

Cryptocurrency mining servers.

Cryptocurrency mining operations consume a significant amount of energy as it run 24 hours a day, said SEB.

“Direct connection to the overhead lines can cause overload to the electrical network system and lead to unnecessary outages or low voltages that could damage appliances and affect nearby customers. Tampered wirings are dangerous as it can cause fire and electrocution to the occupants,” it said.

On a similar note, SEB cautioned the public not to compromise on electrical safety, noting that stealing electricity is a dangerous risk that does not guarantee any quick gains.

“SEB is committed to curbing electricity theft, including those in cryptocurrency mining centres, and will continue to work together with the Ministry of Utilities (MOU) Sarawak and the police to search and track down these electricity thieves.

“Customers are advised not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy unlimited electricity through meter tampering.

“As part of Sarawak Energy’s efforts to curb power theft, metre inspection teams have been trained to detect tampered metres, including fake electrical metre covers,” it said.

Members of the public are strongly encouraged to report any suspected cryptocurrency mining activities in their neighbourhood or abandoned buildings to SEB’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at customercare@sarawakenergy.com. All information received will be kept strictly confidential.